How about a male estrogen to prevent not only memory loss but also heart attacks and strokes that are more common in men than in women? There is work afoot to try to develop compounds that retain many of the properties of estrogen without producing its feminizing effects such as changes in breast size and other physical features. The antiosteoporosis medication raloxifene (Evista), which some have informally labeled as estrogen-light, has fewer feminizing properties than regular estrogen, but it is still not suitable for use by men. A recent study in women showed that Evista was much less likely to lead to breast cancer than estrogen, and this compound may be worth testing in women with mild memory loss.
The irony about estrogen is that it is a steroid, as is the male hormone, testosterone. Corticosteroids are thought to damage hippocampal cells, but sex hormone steroids may actually protect the same cells. Testosterone therapy in men has not been studied as much as estrogen in women for a couple of reasons: a high risk of prostate cancer, and the need to give testosterone by injection rather than orally. Since more and more researchers are taking an interest in sex hormones and related compounds, male sex hormone therapy to prevent memory loss, and perhaps depression, may make its debut in the future.
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